1. Create Running Challenges
My children have always loved to play at the local playgrounds and that is a really wonderful way to get exercise, but I like to maximize this exercise outing by requiring that we walk/run a one-mile lap around the park before they get to play.
When my son starts to whine about how “walking is boring”, I start to give him challenges to keep him preoccupied while we get in our mile lap. Some of his favorite challenges are:
The Mario challenge – Basically, he pretends to be Mario. He jumps over ditches, pretends to ride Yoshi, and runs like Mario while singing the Mario theme.
Subway Surfer challenge – This is one of Ben’s favorite games on his kindle. Basically, it is a little boy running down train tracks and jumping over obstacles, while a police officer chases him. So to play this challenge, Ben runs and jumps while Emma and Sadie (our dog) chases him. He loves it!
Gold coin challenge – This challenge takes a little planning. I basically give Ben mini-challenges to do in order to earn imaginary gold coins (Yes, he has a great imagination) Sometimes the challenge will be to run to the next tree, run backwards, hop like a bunny, run in zigzags, etc. Once he completes the task, he gets an imaginary coin thrown to him, which he promptly puts into his pocket:)
Beat Emma challenge – This is a pretty, simple challenge, basically I will tell Ben to race Emma to random trees or benches to see who wins. (Emma usually lets Ben win)
2. Issue Playground Challenges
Since we homeschool, a lot of the times we will be the only people at the park, which is not a lot of fun for a kid. One way we get around this is by giving Ben certain things to do like:
Superhero challenges – I will tell Ben to be the Flash and see how fast he can run around the playground area or act like Spider-Man and see how fast he can get from one end of the playground equipment to the other (like climbing up ladders, sliding down each slide, and going thru all the tunnels, etc.) He loves to do this!!
Parkour challenges – I think all kids are into Parkour lately. Ben especially loves it, so when we are at the park he climbs up slides and jumps over tunnels in attempts to get a thumbs up approval rating from me.
3. Have pretend Superhero battles
One way we exercise at home is to have pretend superhero battles. When we play this, I pretend to have a controller, which makes Ben do certain actions. For example, if he is Black Widow he does a lot of spins, leaps, and martial art actions. If he is Thor, then he will use his hammer and fist to fight off villains.
4. Play “Mother May I?” and “Simon Says”…Extreme-style
Sometimes Ben will say he is bored during the afternoon, so we will play Mother May I? and Simon Says. The trick to making these count as exercise is to give action-packed tasks to do. Ben loves to do the Running Man (basically running in place), jumping jacks, kangaroo hops (giant leaps), army crawls, and anything else I can think of at the time.
5. Have a Dance Party
My kids really like to dance and this is the easiest way to get them to exercise most days. I simply tell them to dance for five fast songs and away they go. This is our all-time favorite way to get exercise because it is so fun that you forget you are even exercising.
6. Make-up Interactive Chuck E. Cheese Games
This is a game that Ben made up but loves to play occasionally. Basically we recreate games that he loves to play at Chuck E. Cheese by making them into live-action versions. For example, he loves Fruit Ninja so he has me throw soft rubber balls at him while he blocks them with his hands and feet using martial art skills…it is hilarious!
We also like to play the Duck Punch game. Ben runs back and forth in the living room, while quacking and tries to avoid being hit with balls…again…hilarious.
Another fun game we like to recreate is the Basketball Toss game. To play this game, we place balls throughout the living room and then put a big box in the center of the room. To win, Ben has to run around and try to get all of the balls into the box before the time runs out.
I hope these ideas give you some fun ways to keep your children active inside and out. Exercise can always be fun with the right mindset!